Woman re­ports crime, gets de­ported

Im­mi­gra­tion NZ apol­o­gises for the in­ap­pro­pri­ate han­dling of her case

Weekend Herald - - News - Jared Sav­age

A woman who told the po­lice she was the vic­tim of a se­ri­ous crime was later ar­rested, locked in a cell for three nights, then de­ported for be­ing an over­stayer.

She is now back in the coun­try af­ter her fam­ily laid a com­plaint with a lo­cal MP and Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand of­fi­cials have “un­re­servedly” apol­o­gised for the in­ap­pro­pri­ate han­dling of her case.

The Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter, Iain Lees-Gal­loway, said the treat­ment of the woman was ap­palling.

“I have ab­so­lute sym­pa­thy for her. This in­ci­dent fell well short of the ex­pec­ta­tions I have, and I’ve been in­formed by Im­mi­gra­tion NZ that they are tak­ing ac­tion to en­sure that this doesn’t hap­pen again.”

An in­ter­nal re­view of the case is un­der way but changes have al­ready been made.

A se­nior Im­mi­gra­tion su­per­vi­sor now has to ap­prove de­ci­sions to de­tain some­one in cus­tody, which are then re­viewed again af­ter 24 hours and be­fore the per­son is de­ported.

Staff who work with il­le­gal migrants will also be given train­ing on how to deal with vic­tims of crime.

The Week­end Her­ald met with the fam­ily of the woman this week and no de­tails which could iden­tify her will be pub­lished.

No de­ci­sion has been made on whether crim­i­nal charges will be laid fol­low­ing her com­plaint, but the po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions of a se­ri­ous crime.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Colin Hig­son said the woman was pro­vided with coun­selling and sup­port fol­low­ing her com­plaint.

How­ever, he said po­lice were ex­pected to tell Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand of peo­ple un­law­fully in the coun­try.

Hig­son de­clined to com­ment on the de­ci­sion to de­port her.

“The steps taken dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion are al­ways on a case-by-case ba­sis, and we work with part­ner agen­cies when re­quired on what are of­ten com­plex cases,” Hig­son said.

“Any ques­tions about the de­por­ta­tion of in­di­vid­u­als from New Zealand should be di­rected to Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand.”

Pete Devoy, as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager of Im­mi­gra­tion NZ, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion apol­o­gised un­re­servedly to the young woman and took full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the han­dling of her case. “In the vast ma­jor­ity of cases our staff make the right de­ci­sions but in this case we ac­cept that we got it wrong.

“As soon as se­nior man­agers be­came aware of the case INZ ini­ti­ated steps to en­sure the in­di­vid­ual could re­turn to New Zealand as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Devoy said the po­lice asked about the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of the woman, then asked for an update one month later.

That day, she was taken into cus­tody un­der the Im­mi­gra­tion Act for four days — then de­ported.

As in ev­ery de­por­ta­tion case, Devoy said the young woman was asked in an in­ter­view to state any “hu­man­i­tar­ian cir­cum­stances” she wanted taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

The de­ci­sion to de­port was ap­proved by the im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer’s man­ager. How­ever, Devoy said the man­ager was un­aware of the crim­i­nal com­plaint laid by the woman and there­fore her “sta­tus as a vic­tim and wit­ness”.

“Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand ac­cepts that it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate for her to be de­ported given the pend­ing crim­i­nal com­plaint made by her and the re­lated po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Her fam­ily laid a com­plaint with their lo­cal MP a week af­ter she was de­ported and Im­mi­gra­tion NZ be­came aware the next day.

She is now back in New Zealand. The woman has been granted a six­month vis­i­tor visa so that she has time to ap­ply for the cor­rect im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.